Tumultuous Copy? Lead with Drama

Here's how a lesson in storytelling from Kurt Vonnegut can enhance your copy and draw in your audience.

tedx jean

“Start as close to the end as possible.”

That’s Kurt Vonnegut’s advice for great story writing, and it’s a doozy.

In fiction, that means jumping in with your best stuff—conflicts and cliffhangers—and then dedicating serious inkage to flashbacks. Laurie Stone’s flash fiction workshop—a powerhouse format, by the way—insists on this method, and it’s been an exciting way to develop my own writing.

But for copy? Leading with drama isn’t just captivating—it’s a necessity. Converting a lead—or missing an opportunity—can be the difference of a few intrigue-building seconds.

I’ll illustrate with a tried-and-true example. Say you own a martial arts studio and you need some marketing copy for a poster. You could say, “Sign up for a karate class, and get a free pair of hand wraps.”

But why not start with this:

The tension mounts. A flashbulb screams. Intensely focused, two men face off for best fighter of the night. If this sounds incredible, you’ve got the soul of a warrior.

Pow! Like an uppercut from nowhere, the drama hits you fast and knocks you off your feet. Rather than wondering whether you’ve got the reader’s attention, you can set the pace of his heartbeat.

Gregory Lewis

Gregory Lewis

A winsome wordsmith, Gregory M. Lewis loves nothing better than absorbing new information and crystallizing it into clear, captivating copy. Greg brings his incisive insight and easy-going approach to every project. In his free time, the Chicago native can be spotted at Nets games, art galleries, and local concerts in Brooklyn.

Contact MarketSmiths!

Reach out to learn more and get captivating copywriting.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

More from MarketSmiths

image of branded patches representing brand awareness

Marketing in Obscurity: How to Build Brand Awareness That Works

Hands typing on a laptop

A Foolproof Guide to Hiring an Effective Copywriter…the First Time Around

Creepy Empty Parking Lot

Badvertising: The Grim Truth

How Canva made graphic design marketing its own.

How Canva Made Graphic Design—and Graphic Design Marketing—Accessible for the Masses

Inc 5000 content agency

M/WBE certified enterprise.

Design by WorstOfAllDesign. Digital Strategy by MadPipe. Photography by Chellise Michael.